Thursday, April 11, 2013


I really do.  These guys are a laugh a minute.  Frankie Hollande today created a special prosecutor to track down tax cheats in the wake of the announcement by the investigative journalists that 4000 thousand Euros and a couple of French ministers had off-shore accounts.  Full Disclosure:  Throughout my career I had a number of off-shore accounts; some to facilitate transactions done on behalf of my employer as a principal in corporations created--quel horrors--for the purpose of structured financings, some to make life easier because I traveled a lot and some to facilitate investments.  I complied with all laws, paid all taxes and when I didn't need them any more I closed them.  I suspect that the majority of the accounts uncovered were operated in completely correct manners (although I don't know), but certainly, some were on the far side of the buck.  Keep in mind, however, that if somebody has A LOT of hide chances are you are never going to find it...if he's a European.  Americans, on the other hand are not good at this but the fact of the matter is the U.S. is fortunate in having a populace that while they might grumble, pay their taxes to an extent greater than any other nation in the world.

But here comes Frankie, poll numbers absolutely in the toilet after but one year, the economy in tatters, the nation crying for structural reform, economic commitments to the EU impossible to meet and he's chasing tax cheats as though 100% success would make a difference. On top of all that the first round of numbers is in on Frankie's great idea of taxing financial transactions and they stink, with the financial sector up in arms over the loss of business and Frankie about to be proclaimed "Man of the Year" in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, a half-dozen Caribbean Islands and Wall Street.  But he's chasing those tax cheats...what a guy.

If that wasn't good enough for a chuckle we found out today that not only has Cyprus been forced to steal from depositors in Cypriot banks but that the gang of three has grabbed Cyprius' gold reserves as part of the terms of the bail-out. Better yet, nobody quite knows who was responsible for that on the Cypriot side, but as I have said, screwed or not, Cyprus is not a real country so no one cares but when you start talking Portugal and Slovenia things get dicey.  It is clear the latter needs a bail-out right away and the former will need the same--again--in not too long a time.  Now the deal at the start of Euroland was supposed to be an "all for one and a level playing field for all," but he who thinks that--now the cat is out of the bag--these two are going to pony up their gold reserves ala Cyprus is smoking something that may well be harmful to their health.  Which sort of leaves me looking at this mess and asking is anybody in charge here with the answer being an obvious "NO."
But on a rainy, cold, miserable day in the fly-over zone, these guys are great to have around for a good laugh and material.  What would we do without them?

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